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Close Your Eyes

By Bryan M Stoller, OD

Our eyes are one of our most precious assets.  I want you to imagine something.   When imagining it always helps to close your eyes.  However, if you close your eyes you won’t be able to keep reading.  So for now, keep them open and follow along with me.

 

Imagine for a moment that you have just given birth to your first child, a darling little girl.  You hold the tiny bundle in your arms.   Her miniature fingers grasp your larger one and hold on tightly.  You lightly stroke a few strands of hair on her soft head.   You feel her toes and the wrinkles still evident in the now dry, but soft, skin.  You’re not sure what color her eyes are or even if she is smiling at you.

 

You can’t see her.

 

You can’t see anything beyond a point that is two inches away from your nose.   It’s been that way for so many years you have forgotten what many of your family members look like.  You can’t see to work.  Your wife makes charcoal and sells it along the highway.  Your family survives on less than $2 a day.  You believe your vision loss is permanent because it hasn’t gone away on it’s own after so many years.  Even if you knew that your vision loss was correctable, you wouldn’t be able to afford the pair of eyeglasses or the cataract surgery that would open up your world once again.  It’s just how life is in a developing country.

 

This imaginary exercise is quite common in real life.  I have met many patients in Mexico, Zambia, Ethiopia and Haiti who have lived the life I just painted for you.  Life in a developing nation is hard.  Living that life without your vision is almost impossible.

 

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that there are 300 million people around the world who are blind or visually impaired.  The majority of them, seventy six percent to be precise, have a problem that is correctable either with glasses or a 15 minute surgery.

 

Pontiac Family Eye Care and Fairbury Vision Center have joined a global campaign to transform lives through the gift of sight.  Over the course of the next year we will be donating $1 from every pair of glasses purchased in our clinics to a new program called “I Care & Share.”

 

In many developing countries five dollars can purchase an eye exam and a pair of glasses.  We are confident the funds raised through this program will make a big impact for many unfortunate people around the world.  You are welcome to partner with us by making your own donation.   This is a chance to make a small contribution go a long way.

 

Since we are at the end of this article, I am going to ask you to close your eyes for real.  Now imagine what your life would be like if your world looked just like that.